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6 Ah! I see,
ping, after he had taken three or four turns up and down, and joining his fingers behind his back, “I thought I perceived some difference in you, when you first addressed me. What has become of your tail, sir?"
“My tail, your Honour ?" replied my father, looking as much a delinquent as if he was still on board a manof-war, and had been guilty of some misdemeanour“why, please your honour Sir Hercules- _”
“I cut it off for him with my scissors,” interrupted my mother, with a curtsey.
" Saunders was very savage when he came for to know it; but he had a stupefaction of the brain, and was quite insensible at the time; and so, Sir Hercules and my Lady (here a curtsey), I thought it was better--"
,-a brain fever,” observed Sir Hercules. “ Well, under these circumstances, you may have saved his life; but 'twas a pity-was it not, my lady? -quite altered the man,--you recollect his tail, my lady?"
“ What a question, Sir Hercules !” replied her ladyship with great dignity, turning round towards my mother.
My father appeared to be quite relieved from his dilemma by his wife's presence of mind, and really thankful to her for coming to his assistance; she had saved him from the mortification of telling the truth. How true it is, that married people, however much they may quarrel, like to conceal their squabbles from the world!
" And what are you thinking of doing with your little girl ?" said Lady Hercules—“ bringing her up
to service, I presume : leave that to me; as soon as she is old enough, the thing is done, you need say no more about it.” Here her ladyship fell back in the large easy chair on which she was seated, with a selfsatisfied air of patronage, and looking even more dignified than her husband.
But my mother had no such intentions, and having first thanked her ladyship for her great kindness, stated very humbly, that she did not much like the idea of her daughter going out to service; that she was far from strong, and that her health would not allow her to undertake hard work.
Well, but I presume she may do the work of a lady's maid,” replied her ladyship, haughtily; "and it was that service which I intended for her."
“ Indeed, Lady Hercules, you are very kind; but there is an objection," replied my mother, to gain time.
“Please your ladyship,” said my father, who, to my great surprise, came to my mother's support, “I do not wish that my little girl should be a lady's maid.”
“And why not, pray ?" said her ladyship, rather angrily.
"Why, you see, your ladyship, my daughter is, after all, only the daughter of a poor Greenwich pensioner; and, although she has been so far pretty well educated, yet I wishes her not to forget her low situation in life, and ladies' maids do get so confounded proud ('specially those who have the fortune to be ladies' ladies' maids), that I don't wish that she should take a situation which would make her forget herself, and her poor old pensioner of a father; and, begging your honour's pardon, that is the real state of the case, my lady.”
What my mother felt at this slap at her, I do not know, but certain it is that she was satisfied with my father taking the responsibility of refusal on his own shoulders, and she therefore continued—“1 often have told Mr. Saunders how happy I was when under your ladyship's protection, and what a fortunato person I considered myself; but my husband has always had such an objection to my girl being brought up to it, that I have (of course, my lady, as it is my duty to him to do so) given up my own wishes from the first; indeed, my lady, had I not known that
little girl was not to go to service, I never should have ventured to have called her Virginia, my lady."
“What, then, do you intend her for ?” said Sir Hercules to my father. “ You don't mean to bring her up as a lady, do you ?”
“No, your honour, she's but a pensioner's daughter, and I wishes her to be humble, as she ought to be; so I've been thinking that something in the millinery line, or perhaps--"
“ As a governess, my lady," interrupted my mother, with a curtsey.
“ That will make her humble enough, at all events," observed the bald gentleman in black, with a smile.
“ I admit,” replied Lady Hercules, “ that your having given my name to your little girl is a strong reason for her not going into service; but there are many expenses attending the cducation necessary for a young person as governess."
mother entered into an explanation of how Virginia bad been educated; an education which sho should not have dreamt of giving, only that her child
bore her ladyship's name, &c. My mother employed her usual flattery and humility, so as to reconcile her ladyship to the idea; who was the more inclined when she discovered that she was not likely to be put to any expense in her patronage of my sister. It was finally agreed that Virginia should be educated for the office of governess, and that when she was old enough Lady Hercules would take her under her august protection; but her ladyship did do her some service. Finding that Virginia was at a respectable school, she called there with a party of ladies, and informed the school. mistress that the little girl was under her protection, and that she trusted that justice would be done to her education. In a school where the Miss Tippets were considered the aristocracy, the appearance of so great a woman as Lady Hercules was an event, and I do not know whether my little sister did not after that take precedence in the school; at all events, she was much more carefully instructed and looked after than she had been before. Sir Hercules was also pleased to find, upon inquiry, that there was every prospect of my entering the pilot service without any trouble on his part. Both Sir Hercules and his lady informed their friends of what their intentions were to their young protégés, and were inundated with praises and commendations for their kindness, the full extent of which the reader will appreciate. But, as my mother pointed out as we walked home, if we did not require their assistance at present, there was no saying but that wa cventually might; and if so, that Sir Hercules and Lady Hawkingtrefylyan could not well refuse to perform their promises. I must say that this was tho first instance in my recollection in which my parents appeared to draw amicably together; and I believe that nothing except regard for their children could have produced the effect.
A MOST IMPORTANT PRESENT IS MADE TO ME; AND, AS IT WILL EVENTUALLY APPEAR, THE GENEROSITY OF
THE GIVER IS REWARDED.
Sir HERCULES and Lady Hawkingtrefylyan quitted Greenwich the day after the interview narrated in the preceding chapter, and by that day's post Anderson received a letter in reply to the one he had written, from his friend Philip Bramble, channel and river pilot, who had, as he said in his letter, put on shore at Dcal, where he resided, but the day before, after knocking about in the Channel for three weeks. Bramble stated his willingness to receive and take charge of me, desiring that I would hold myself in readiness to be picked up at a minute's warning, and he would call for me the first time that he took a vessel up the river. A letter communicating this intelligence was forthwith despatched by my mother to Sir IIercules, who sent a short reply, stating that if I conducted myself properly he would not lose sight of me. This letter, however, very much increased the family consequence in Fisher’s Alley, for my mother did not fail to show it to everybody, and everybody was anxious to see the handwriting of a real baronet. About a